Valdosta, Georgia- August 23, 2012
When you think of cantaloupe you do not always think of Salmonella. But fruit, just like anything you eat, can be infected with disease.
A Lowndes County girl who is said to be under 5-years-old has been diagnosed with salmonella poisoning. Georgia's South Health District says she was not hospitalized and is at home doing well.
The girl became sick from eating cantaloupe just as nearly 150 other people have in an outbreak spanning 21 states. So far two people have died nationwide.
"The child that we have here in Lowndes County is the first case of this throughout the whole state of Georgia and of course we hope it is the last case," said, Courtney Sheeley, spokesman for the South Health District.
Officials say the outbreak comes from a farm in Southwestern Indiana. Now consumers are discouraged from buying cantaloupe carrying an Indiana label.
Sheeley says it is not enough to just wash your fruit. "You need to scrub the outside of the cantaloupe before cutting into it. And that is not just running water over it. Because when you cut into it that bacteria can get on the knife and go down when you are cutting it."
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has identified the Southwestern Indiana farm where the outbreak started. Those farmers have agreed to stop distributing the cantaloupes for the rest of the growing season.
Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever, cramps and can be fatal. None of the cases have been reported in Florida.